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Marriage Reconciliation - The Group Marriage Reconciliation - The Group
    by Byron Ware

NOTE: Your responses to my article, Marriage Reconciliation, were staggering! As John wrote, “Overwhelmed and thankful and sorrowful at the same time for the big response.” Thank you John and Kathy for sharing so much of yourselves, including your phone number! By the way, John and I receive no financial benefit for recommending “New Beginnings” and “His Needs Her Needs” seminars from Family Dynamics. We just believe in them because we have seen miracles happen in broken marriages. This article is about another truly amazing way God is “Saving Hopeless Marriages.”

    How could anyone miss that brochure? That bright, neon-yellow color seemed to be glowing in the rack. I still carry it in my Bible, hoping to pass it on some day. It says, “Saving Hopeless Marriages,” and “Reconciling Marriage After Separation or Divorce.” It quotes Matthew 19:26, “With God, all things are possible.” After getting to know more about this support group, and especially the founders, I know how true Matthew 19:26 really is.

    The first time I met John & Diane Cayce, they stood in front of our Sunday morning adult Bible class. John revealed details about his marriage breakup that made me feel uncomfortable. He honestly laid out the dark details of a marriage that had deteriorated to a very sad ending — divorce. Like many folks today, sometimes we would rather not hear how the devil destroys marriages. But as we all look around to those hurting by the damage from divorce, it is past time to be talking: we need to listen and then act! Amazingly, as I listened, this depressing story turned around with a truly heart-lifting testimony of how God can heal and restore two broken people.

    The Cayces learned first hand how difficult and painful it is to move toward reconciliation after a marriage has been completely destroyed by sin. They also found that no marriage problem is impossible for God to solve. They struggled with a bad marriage for ten years before they split apart and obtained a divorce. During their two-year separation, John committed to remain open to reconciliation, to allow God sufficient time to work in his and Diane’s life, and to increase John’s spiritual and emotional maturity. God eventually softened Diane’s heart toward John, and gave her the desire to reestablish a marriage relationship with him. Then, after many tough months, God gradually drew Diane to Himself and completely restored her relationship with John. John and Diane repeated their marriage vows in 1988, which God later “sealed” with the gift of their second daughter.

Somewhere around a hundred marriages have been saved by this ministry.
    Out of this painful journey, they formed the Marriage Reconciliation Support Group at Richland Hills Church of Christ in August of 1991. The members of this group receive the encouragement of testimonies from the Cayces, and now many others. Many of the marriages God has mended involved situations that many believed were “impossible” to reconcile. I heard of one member that actually “fired shots” at the spouse with whom reconciliation has occurred. Somewhere around a hundred marriages have been saved by this ministry. More than half of these marriages was restored after divorce. Other marriages are now in various stages of the process of reconciliation.

    This wonderful ministry has been successful for many reasons. The primary reason, however, is that God is at work! The work of the Marriage Reconciliation Support Group is carried out through individual Word-based “lay counseling” and weekly support group sessions in which the members share with one another their faith, hope, and experiences under the guidance of those called “facilitators” who have walked down that same road. Support group meetings are confidential. For many, it is vital to learn to trust again. God is the ultimate authority in the group, and the facilitators are responsible for helping the group members find solutions for their problems in Him.

    There are many big and small “steps” on the road to marriage reconciliation, but three steps are key to the Marriage Reconciliation Support Group.

  • STEP ONE: Become Reconciled to God
    God wants to bring us closer to Him so that we will become more like Christ. So, the first step of the reconciliation process is to confess and admit our faults, see the forgiveness in God and our spouse and ask God to change us. We cannot change anyone but ourselves. If someone wants change in their marriage, it has to start with him or her.

  • STEP TWO: Become Reconciled to Yourself
    Christians who are not reconciled to themselves are full of fear, insecurity and doubt about God’s love and deliverance. Knowing the love and forgiveness God has for us also empowers us to risk loving and forgiving those who may have hurt or rejected us.

  • STEP THREE: Become Reconciled to Others Including Your Spouse
    Once we become reconciled to God and ourselves, then we can truly become reconciled to our spouses. This requires that we know and understand the meaning and difference of tender love, tough love and sacrificial love, and the way to demonstrate those types of love in relating to our spouse.

    It takes great leaders in great churches to have the insight and courage to “step-up” to need of ministering to “hopeless marriages.” Whether it’s a “hopeless” marriage you are in, or you are a church leader, why don’t you step up to the challenge? Our communities, our churches, our homes are being destroyed by the damage of divorce. Why not get more information on the Marriage Reconciliation Support Group? Please contact Richland Hills <supportgroups@rhchurch.org> and ask about the Marriage Reconciliation Support Group.

    Now, do you remember that neon-yellow colored Marriage Reconciliation brochure that I carry in my Bible? Consider it passed on to you — even though this web page doesn’t glow in the dark.


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Related Heartlight Resources:
Marriage Reconciliation
Covenant Marriage
God at Work
Related External Pages:
Family Dynamics
Richland Hills Church of Christ
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Title: "Marriage Reconciliation - The Group"
Author: Byron Ware
Publication Date: March 2, 2000

 

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Article © 2000, Byron Ware, used by permission.
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